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What really happened with Wi-Fi on the iPhone 4

Mike Schramm
June 11, 2010
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WWDC is wrapping up here in San Francisco today, and after a week of having most of the best Apple developers in the world all in one place, we're hearing some speculation and solutions for what happened to Steve Jobs on stage Monday. He had Wi-Fi issues while accessing the New York Times website during a demo with iPhone 4, and of course it led to the awkward pause where he asked the over 500 Wi-Fi users in the room to please unplug their computers and stop liveblogging (of course, not everybody complied).

But were those users the problem? NPR cornered Glenn Fleishman for an explanation, and he says while that many Wi-Fi users might not have caused problems, many of the people in the room were using MiFis, the personal wireless network devices that aren't necessarily designed to be used so closely together. It wasn't a bandwidth problem then, Fleishman suggests, but an interference problem, with local Wi-Fi likely giving way to the vast noise from other devices.

Fleishman also says over at Ars Technica that there might have been another issue: the iPhone 4's pre-release network drivers. If you look at how the iPhone actually behaved, it's apparent that the software might not have been ready to deal with everything happening during the keynote. Of course, that doesn't mean that iPhone 4 will have issues at release -- Apple tests these devices thoroughly, and we couldn't imagine Steve releasing subpar drivers on the iPhone. Even if the drivers were the issue, obviously we'd never heard that from Apple. But Steve's irritation at Monday's keynote may have been slightly misplaced -- there were probably a few different factors going into the reason he couldn't load a page in Mobile Safari.





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